Earlier this week, Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell introduced a bill that would allow local authorities and the general public to have a say in the matter regarding the number of pokies installed in certain areas. While pubs and clubs were sceptical about the idea at first, politicians have shown a great deal of support. The bill passed its first reading with a vote of 83 to 7.
This shows that there is a great interest in the New Zealand community to reduce the number of poker machines. While sinking lid policies seek to gradually reduce the harm done by the overabundance of pokies, the new bill would allow local politicians to reduce or eliminate pokies over the course of 12 months.
The introduction to of the bill seems to come at a misfortunate time for SkyCity, however. Despite the fact that casino pokies would not be covered by the bill, its introduction casts a negative light on poker machines. As SkyCity currently fights for the right to install 500 new machines in its Auckland location, this is certainly not the kind of press that the casino operator is looking for.